Facebook pages for schools

People ask me all the time what I think about schools having Facebook, or even MySpace pages. Businesses, after all, use Facebook all the time.

People ask me all the time what I think about schools having Facebook, or even MySpace pages. Businesses, after all, use Facebook all the time. So do parents, teachers, and students. Gee wiz, a common medium for communication with all the stakeholders in education? Seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it?

And yet, many people are still really uncomfortable about embracing social media platforms in school systems. To be completely honest, I'm fairly uncomfortable using mainstream, unregulated platforms myself, and I use Twitter and Facebook all the time.

Social media, in my opinion, are such powerful tools for taking conversations among parents, community members, and school employees to the next level that they can't be ignored. Neither, though, can our responsibility to keep kids safe, maintain high professional standards, and ensure that we are legally covered in everything we do.

There are plenty of customizable social media tools that we can safely use in schools. However, they lack the appeal and familiarity of a social network that so many of us use anyway. It can be quite difficult to engage people in yet another network they need to check. For many, Facebook is enough of a time drain all by itself.

So where is the happy medium? I'm inclined to believe that we simply need to complete the cultural shift away from email and towards a variety of social media, most likely unified by a single web application (just as Gmail can manage all of our email accounts easily) before this can completely take off in schools. What do you think?

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